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When substituting stevia for sugar, the company says ViaTech can help figure out which ratio of steviol glycosides enables the greatest calorie cuts.
At Natural Products Expo West, Cargill (Minneapolis) formally launched ViaTech, the now-official name of the company’s stevia taste-prediction model. When substituting stevia for sugar, the company says ViaTech can help figure out which ratio of steviol glycosides enables the greatest calorie cuts-the highest the company has ever achieved and even potentially up to 100%-while still ensuring the product tastes good.
That’s the catch with most stevia systems, says Scott Fabro, global business development director, Cargill Corn Milling North America. Yes, companies can currently replace 100% of sugar with stevia-but the product will likely taste very bitter and have a heavy licorice aftertaste, both of which are typical when a high amount of stevia is used. With ViaTech, which Fabro describes as “a mathematical formula,” Cargill is drawing on its knowledge of steviol glycosides-there are more than 40 in the stevia leaf-to help each company figure out which glycoside ratio best serves its product, based on the product’s individual pH and sweetness level.
Standard stevia products currently on the market, such as RA98 and Reb A products, can typically only achieve “maybe about a 30% calorie reduction at the most,” says Fabro. “After that, the product starts tasting like a whole lot of pretty bad stevia-sweetened products.” He says ViaTech can help companies bridge the gap between 30% and even 100% calorie reduction.
All of the sweeteners in the ViaTech portfolio are JECFA (the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) and EU compliant and meet the regulatory requirements of Europe and North America, he adds. None of the glycosides are derived from fermentation; all ViaTech sweeteners are derived from the leaf. Fabro says it also renders stevia taste maskers, etc., unnecessary.
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